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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 6, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

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assaults were police personnel, security personnel, higher ranking officers, the people i would have to go to to report." last but not least, lieutenant ariana clay, u.s. marine corps, whose home was broken into by two colleagues, raped brutally, ultimately reported, attempted suicide. her perpetrator convicted and convicted of what? not breaking and entering, not rape. calling her a slut. quote -- "the thing that makes me most angry is not even the rape itself. it's the commanders that were complicit in covering up everything that happened." the presiding officer: all time for debate has expired. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on s. 17 52, a bill to reform
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procedures for determination to proceed to trial by court-martial for certain offenses under the uniform code of military justice, and for other purposes, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is is it the sense of the senate that debate on s. 1752, a bill to reform procedures for determinations to proceed to trial by court-martial for certain offenses under the uniform code of military justice and for other purposes shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: are there senators in the chamber wishing to change their vote?
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if not, on this vote, the ayes are 55, the nays are 45. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. and the bill is returned to the calendar. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the clerk will report s. 1917. the clerk: calendar number 293, s. 1917, a bill to provide for additional enhancements of the sexual assault prevention and response activities of the armed forces. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: can we have order in the senate, please. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. reid: i have a cloture motion which has been filed at
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the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on s. 1917, a bill to provide for additional enhancements of the sexual assault prevention and response activities of the armed forces. signed by 17 senators as follows -- reid of nevada, mccaskill, gillibrand, baldwin, rockefeller, cardin, leahy, stabenow, blumenthal, coons, mikulski, boxer, tester, begich, cantwell, schumer and feinstein. mr. reid: madam president? madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we expect to have -- mrs. boxer: the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. reid: we expect the next vote will be the next vote until monday. next roll call vote. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the clerk will
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report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on s. 1917, a bill to provide for additional enhancements of the sexual assault, prevention and response activities of the armed services. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is: is it the sense of the senate that debate on s. 1917, a bill to provide for additional enhancements of the sexual assault prevention and response activities of the armed forces, shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote the yeas are 100, the nays are zero. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion the is agreed to. the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous
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consent notwithstanding the previous order the senate vote on passage of s. 1927 on monday, march 10, all the previous orders remaining in effect. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar numbers 504, 513, 640 and 547 as provided under previous order entered by this body. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations, which the clerk will report. the clerk: department of commerce, kathryn sullivan of ohio could be under secretary. united states international trade commission, rhonda k. schmidtlein of missouri to be a member. department of homeland security, r. gil kerlikowske of the district of columbia to be
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commissioner of customs. department of state, michael a. hammer of the district of columbia to be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the united states of america to be the republic of chile. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to a vote on the sullivan nomination. mr. reid: i would yield back any time that may be available. the presiding officer: without objection. all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the sullivan nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those, no. -- opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided in the usual
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form prior to a vote on the schmidtlein nomination. who yields time? mr. reid: i would yield back all time that's available. the presiding officer: without objection. all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the schmidtlein nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to a vote on the r. gil kerlikowske nomination. mr. reid: if there is time available, i yield it back. the presiding officer: the question occurs on the kerlikowske nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those say nay.
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the ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it. the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to a vote on the hammer nomination. mr. reid: i would yield back any time available. the presiding officer: without objection. all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the hammer nomination. all those in favor say aye. all those say nay. the ries appear to have it, the ayes do have it, the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate will resume legislative session. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii.
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ms. hirono: madam president, nearly four months ago, the most powerful storm on record struck the philippines, killing 6,000 people and injuring 27,000 people. according to u.s. a.i.d. four million people were displaced and one out of six people in the country were affected. photographs so the immense scruggs caused by the typhoon. in some areas nearly all of the buildings were destroyed. today because of the magnitude of the devastation, the philippines has not yet recovered. it will take them a long time. relief efforts continue. these efforts have been aided by direct assistance from the united states government to the philippines, one of our closest allies in asia. relief efforts have also been funded by charitable donations made by individuals in the united states, many of these donations come from political pinot americans in this country, part of the extensive
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diaspora here that is the foundation of the deep connections between the philippines and the united states. i am about to ask unanimous consent to pass legislation that will encourage people to continue donating to typhoon relief efforts in the philippines. it has been four months since the typhoon but help is still desperately needed. four months is a vitter eternity of news cycles and other parts of the world demand our attention but we should not forget the immense human suffering caused by the typhoon. this legislation, s. 1421, would allow people who make donations after the date of enactment to deduct those donations from last year's taxes. in other words, they can reduce their 2013 tax bill by contributing now. it is a modest step but it is one we should take. this is bipartisan legislation cosponsored by senator heller.
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this legislation is also cosponsored by senator menendez and the majority leader, senator reid. i thank them for their support. identical bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the house of representatives by representative smallwell and thompson. that bill has 35 cosponsors including nine the republicans, representatives calvert, franks, grimm, hick, issa, royce, and young. i thank them for their support. after the earthquake in haiti in 2010, congress passed nearly identical legislation to encourage donations to that country. that legislation passed by unanimous consent in the senate. the senate companion bill, s. 2936, had 40 cosponsors, 15 of whom were republicans. they included senators alexander, corner, grassley, hatch, johanns, roberts and thune. i hope that the senate will
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provide the same support to the philippines that it provided to haiti. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the finance committee be discharged from further consideration of s. 1821, that the senate proceed to its immediate consideration, that the hirono-heller amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, that the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, further, that upon passage, the bill be held at desk and that if the senate receives from the house a bill the text text of which is identical to s. 1821 as passed by the senate, the senate proceed to its immediate consideration of the bill, the bill be read three times and passed without any intervening action or debate. finally, the passage of the senate bill be vitiated and the bill be indefinitely postponed and all motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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mr. sessions: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: reserving the right to object i first want to commend the senator from hawaii for her work and her concern over the philippines. that country suffered dramatically from this typhoon, having lived on the gulf coast and walked in the places where 18 feet of water from hurricane katrina blawd -- blooded us and washed away whole structures i can imagine what it was like to have lost 6,000 lives and the country is hurting. it's a great country with great people, excellent allies of the united states and i'm very sympathetic to their needs and appreciated of the senator's efforts in seeking this way to further contributions for their relief.
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the legislation has an emergency declaration in it and that requires going through the budget committee and requires other findings that i'm not sure are available here. i think the legislation could be perhaps drafted slightly differently, senator, that would avoid the emergency designation report and maybe we can reach an accord to get this done as quickly as possible. i know you want to get it done as soon as possible. madam chairman, i would say i will object but our staffs will immediately begin to discuss if we can put this in a slightly different way that would accomplish the senator's goals without offending some of the budget niceties. being the ranking republican on the budget committee, i feel
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very, very strongly that when we make agreements about about how we're going to spend money and how it should be processed, the more we erode those agreements and the more we spend above the amount of money that we agreed to spend or get around the spending limits that we ourselves passed into law, the more we place at risk the financial future of the country. so this isn't the most costly measure, it's a step that would help the people in the philippines, i know, and so with that i would object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. ms. hirono: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: i would like to thank very much for senator sessions regarding the concerns we have for our friends in the philippines and i look forward to working with you to come up with a measure that will
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accomplish what my bill sought to accomplish. mr. sessions: i respect your effort in this cause and we'll do what we can to be cooperative. mr. barrasso: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. i wanted to come to visit with you today and the members of this body with some concerns i have about people who are being impacted by the health care law. and by impacted, i mean hurt. their lives are being hurt as a result of the impact of the health care law. we are seeing it around the country as people are trying to comply with the law, we're finding many people are losing their jobs or part of their jobs if they're working part time, to be held under 30 hours a week because under that criteria people working fewer than 30 hours a week do not have to be provided with health insurance.
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we've seen stories around the country of municipalities, of public employees who are having their hours cut and as a result obviously their take-home pay cut, their wages cut as a result of the impact of the health care law as communities try to comply with all the aspects of the law. we've seen it with -- in police forces, with teachers, with coaches, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, office clerks, sanitation workers, emergency personnel, university faculty, people all around the country who are being hurt as a result of the law. members of the senate come from my side of the aisle to read letters of folks who have been harmed by the health care law and the majority leader comes to the floor and says that these stories are lies. these are stories from people at home who i talk to on weekends. i'll be this weekend in buffalo, wyoming, at the health fair there, having a chance to visit with folks who are from wyoming
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who go to a health fair for low-cost blood screening, also to go and visit booths that are there with -- from the heart association, the cancer society, the diabetes association, all taking efforts to try to improve the quality of their life, the quality of their care, and the quality of their overall health. and it's interesting to hear from these people because i don't think the president hears from them. and when i hear the majority leader saying that the people that come to the floor to talk about them, that these stories are -- are lies, it's -- it's calling the people of wyoming, who have honest concerns about the way their lives have been impacted by the health care law, as being untruthful. so i come to the floor with more letters today and to talk about some things. you know, it does make me wonder, though, when the majority leader comes and says these things aren't truthful if he isn't hearing the stories from the police officers and the teachers and the coaches and the bus drivers and the custodians, the cafeteria workers, the office clerks, the sanitation
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workers, the emergency personnel, the university faculty in states all around the country who have their lives impacted by the health care law. what i do think is that other senators, senators who perhaps go home more often than the majority leader, senators who maybe listen to their constituents more and read the letters, are seeing the damage that is being done by the health care law because the president is responding to their claims, their concerns and to the point that the president himself has unilaterally delayed many components of the health care law. these are the delays from 2013. here's a calendar for the year. and all of the x's are different days where there have been different delays. there have been dozens of delays as a result of the health care law impact on the families across the country. so i'd like to read just a couple of e-mails about the impact on lives of people in
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wyoming. this is a gentleman from caspar, my hometown. i was there monday. i'll be there again tomorrow. he writes, "my wife and i just received my new monthly premium information from our health insurance. as of march 1, 2014, it will go from $505 a month to $1,045 a month." so, as he says, an increase of over double. he said, "this is for a bronze level plan with a high deductible and high out-of-pocket." you know, i wish the president would actually kind of understand what the impact of this law has been on american families. i wish people that supported this, campaigned for it would realize the impact on people's lives. so he's gotten his premium going from $505 a month to over $1,000 a month. a double increase. bronze level plan, which the president wants people to have, the minimum level and has a high deductible and high out of
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pocket. and he said "it's also the cheapest plan for us so far for us in wyoming and compliens comh the law." because the law says this man needs a lot of insurance. maybe he doesn't need it. the president doesn't know this man, doesn't know his life and history and what he needs in terms of insurance. but the president claims and the democrats who voted for this health care law, believe that they know better than this man what he needs. but what we do find out is when he wants to comply with the law, his insurance premiums more than double for the cheapest plan which has the highest deductible and the highest out-of-pocket. he said, "this increase will mean that money that we probably would have spent elsewhere will now need to be budgeted for the insurance increase." we go across the straight to moran, wyoming, another resident of wyoming writes, he says, "i'm a resident of wyoming and half of my income comes from social security. my benefits total $958 a month. in addition to that, i work part
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time at a ranch in that community and he said, it is a seasonal job from may to october. "i make about the same amount there as i do from social security. i've recently managed to submit an application for health care through the healthcare.gov web site." he said, "the cost to me with my current income would be a low end of $837 a month with a $4,000 deductible. the high end would be over $1,300 a month with a $1,000 deductible." he said, "neither of these amounts are possible with my income range. i would not be able to afford to live." he said, now, "i refigured this with only my social security income and found that it would be very affordable, lower deductible, lower premiums." of course, but he wouldn't have the income. he said, "i could possibly afford that but would have to live in a very substandard lifestyle by quitting working. so he has these options. he can continue what he does but he can't afford the insurance or he can get affordable insurance
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by quit working but can't then afford to live. this is what the president of the united states and the democrats have given the people of america. he said, "i would like to work and contribute as long as i'm able but things are looking pretty bleak for me." this is a man that wants to wo work. this is a man who wants to work but the health care law is making it a lot harder for him to do so. he said, "i'm giving you this information in the hope that it will be of some value in combating the unfairness of the affordable care act." "the unfairness of the affordable care act." i have to believe that senators on both sides of the aisle who actually go home and listen to their constituents hear about this, hear these stories, hear these stories all around the country, the unfairness of the affordable care act. he then goes on and says, "thank you so much for your service to our country and the great state of wyoming." so here we have dozens of dela
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delays -- and this is last year -- and now it's happened again. just yesterday, the president came up with another delay. and it's interesting the way that it is -- it made front page of the "new york times." a paper that has supported the president, supported the law. front page, above the fold, story by robert pare. "the obama administration, grappling with continued political fallout over its health care law, said wednesday it would allow consumers to renew health insurance policies that did not comply with the new law for two more years." and this is "the new york times" speaking, front page, above the fold. this isn't me but they're repeating the kind of things that i have been saying, pushing the issue well beyond the fall midterm elections. so what's the idea here? push it out beyond the elections, make people not see the reality and the danger and
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the damage that is coming their way until after they vote. the article goes on, front page, above the fold, today's "new york times," "the reprieve was a latest in a series of waivers, deadline extensions and unilateral actions by the administration." here you have them. this is just in 2013. now we have many more in 2014. "unilateral actions by the administration that have drawn criticism from the law's opponents and supporters, many saying president obama was testing the limits of his powe powers." i believe that, madam president. i believe the president has gone way beyond the limits of his powers. this says, "the action reflects the difficulties mr. obama" -- the president of the united states, who told the american people if they like what they have, they can keep it; if their like their doctor, they can keep their doctor -- "who is said insurance premiums would go down," all of which untrue, one called the lie of the year. "the action reflects the
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difficulties mr. obama has faced in trying to build support for the affordable care act and the uproar over his promise which he later acknowledged had been overstated, that people who like their insurance plans could keep them, no matter what." over 5 million americans got letters of cancellation. 3,500 in the state of wyoming. a woman with wonderful -- a policy that worked for her, worked for her family lost her insurance because it didn't cover maternity coverage. she writes to me as a doctor and says, "dr. barrasso, please explain to the president of the united states that i've had a hysterectomy, i don't need maternity coverage." you would think the president would understand that. you would think that the democrats, who shoved this health care law down the throats of the american people, would understand that as well. now, this is the interesting -- still on the front page of this morning's "new york times." "under pressure democratic candidates who are struggling"
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struggling, madam president -- "to defend the president's signature domestic policy, mr. obama in november announced a one-year reprieve for insurance plans that did not meet the minimum coverage requirements of the 2010 health care law. wednesday's action, yesterday's action," it says, "goes much further, essentially stalling for two more years one of the central tenets of the much-debated law which was supposed to eliminate what white house officials called 'substandard insurance' and "junk policies.' " so if this is what the president believes, why is he now coming out and having a delay announced? not coming to congress, not saying hey, let's try to do something a little different, let me propose it, let's bring it and have a bipartisan agreement to come up with some solutions to actually help people get what they wanted in the beginning with health care reform. the care they need from a doctor
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they choose at lower costs. the letters i'm reading show people not being able to do that. they're paying much higher for things that they don't need, don't want, will never use. we're hearing from people all across the country who are losing their doctor, can't keep their doctor, higher out-of-pocket costs and we hear now the president wants to do some things unilaterally because a group of democrat senators who are up for election are worried about their political future, not about the future of the american people and the health care of the american people. that's why they're doing this. and you say "well, no, that seems like an exaggeration." well, let's go on. this next paragraph in "the new york times" this morning, "the extension could help democrats in tight midterm election races because it may avoid the cancellation of policies that would otherwise have occurred at the height of the political campaign season this fall." so the cancellations are still going to happen. people are still going to continue to be hurt.
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we have over 5 million people who've gotten letters of cancellations. and it's not saying, oh, the cancellations will never saying. it's just gon going to push thef until after the election so people won't be irritated and angry to the democrats who voted for it to try to save their senate seats, but not to help the american people. so this goes on, "in announcing the new transition policy, the department of health and human services says it was devised in close consultation with members of congress and it gives 'credit to a number of democrats in competitive races' including senators mary landrieu of louisiana, senator jeanne shaheen of new hampshire, and mark udall of colorado." so the reason that the white house goes time after time all these days, all this and that is not to help the american people, it's not to help patients, it's
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not to help the providers of health care, it's not to help the taxpayers, it's to help a couple of democrat senators who they name -- who the secretary of health and human services names -- as recipients of the help because the president is worried about democrats losing elections this fall. madam president, "the hill" newspaper yesterday, "new obamacare delay to help midterm dems." not to help americans, not to help the people from my state who write letters about the concerns of their lives. not to help all of these people who my colleagues and i continue to come to the floor with letters to tell their stories, to tell about their lives, to tell about the pain that they're suffering because of the health care law. it's not about the failed web site. we all know the web site, the president said, oh, it will be easy to use as amazon, cheaper
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than your cell phone bill. he said, you'll be able to keep your doctor several days before the web site opened and crashed. no, it's more than about the web site. it's about people's lives. it's about if they're able to keep their doctor. it's about cuts to medicare advantage and hurting our seniors who are having a harder time getting doctors. it's about people paying higher premiums. it's about people having higher out-of-pocket, higher co-pays, higher deductibles. all of those things. it's about hospitals in states that are saying, we're not part of any of these exchanges. people in the communities can't go there, they have to travel further distances. nope, the president's not doing that for any of those reasons, not to help any of those people. he's doing it to help midterm dems because they're afraid they're going to lose their seats, they're afraid to lose their majority, they're afraid they're going to be impacted and thrown out of office for absolutely reckless behavior on the part of a congress who did not work in a bipartisan way, shoved a health care law down the throats of the american
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people in a way not to improve their lives but to say that congress knows better than people back home. well, madam president -- well, madam president, i am geeing continue to come to the floor with letters and stories. i'll be at the health fair in buffalo, wyoming, on saturday seeing what people have to say about their lived, jobs, wages, those of them that are losing hours as a result of the health care law, those who cannot afford new insurance under the exchanges, even though they had insurance that they may have liked, even though they didn't like the price, it was cheaper than it is now, but the president said it wasn't good enough for them. so i'm going to continue to work, madam president, for solutions to help patients all across this country, have patient-centered care, not government-centered care, or insurance company-centered chair, to help patients get the care they need from a doctor
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they choose at lower cost, a complete failure by this administration and by this health care law. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:

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